A hit and run can be very stressful. You’ll feel like you have to scramble if you don’t have insurance information about the driver who hit your car.
There are some options for you after a Texas hit-and-run. First, the Texas Transportation Code will make it clear that if the driver is caught, they could face legal consequences. Your insurer may pay the bill if you have certain types of insurance even if the other driver is not located.
All that said, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities if you are a resident of the Lone Star State.
Texas hit and run
What is a hit-and-run in Texas? Texas law requires drivers to stop when they are involved in an accident that causes injury to another person (or death) or damages to the vehicle carrying them. Drivers who fail to do these two things are guilty of hit-and-run.
You still have the responsibility to stop and locate the driver or leave your information visible if you hit an unattended car.
These types of accidents are very common in Texas, despite Texas law. The state passed new laws in 2013 that increased penalties for leaving an accident scene. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, even with the Texas hit-and-run statute, the Lone Star State is still eighth for the most hit and runs.
Texas hit-and-run laws
You might be curious about the penalties for these types accidents, given Texas’s stricter hit-and-run statute. It all depends on how much damage was caused by the hit-and-run driver.
- Deaths or serious injuries resulting from accidents: The other driver will be charged with a felony (second degree for a fatality and third for serious bodily harm).
- Less serious injuries can result from an accident A driver could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
- Vehicle damage caused by an accident: If the driver is found guilty, they will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. It’s a Class C misdemeanor if the amount exceeds $200.
The current Texas hit-and-run statute states that all drivers involved in an auto accident must stop and give their information. This is in addition to providing assistance to anyone injured in the accident.
You must provide the following information to your state law-enforced driver, and vice versa:
- Number of vehicle registration
- Information about insurance
- Driver’s licence
Texas law allows you to file a claim against their liability insurance if the other driver has been found. If they aren’t found or they don’t have insurance, you’ll turn to your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage — assuming you have it.
Here are 4 things you can do after a Texas hit-and-run
Texas hit-and-run can be frightening. Take a deep breath, and follow these steps.
1. All people to safety
Move your vehicle away from traffic. You should check on your passengers as well as yourself for injuries. You might not realize how badly you are hurt after an accident, especially one in which the other driver was speeding away. Take a moment and check that you are okay.
2. Contact the police
These are two benefits. The first is that law enforcement can significantly increase the chance of finding the hit-and-run driver. The police report you file can be helpful in your insurance claim.
3. Note down everything you remember
You can start to take notes while you wait for the police officers to arrive. How did the vehicle of the driver look like? Do you know their license plate number or any portion thereof? Ask passengers and bystanders for any additional details. This information should be shared with law enforcement officers on the scene.
You can also begin to collect evidence by yourself. Grab any broken pieces from the vehicle of the hit-and-run driver and grab them. You should also inspect your vehicle for paint scratches or any other evidence that might help you identify the other vehicle.
4. Contact your insurance company
They will let you know the information that you need to file your auto insurance claim. Your insurance representative can help you determine if your coverage covers a Texas hit-and-run.
Is insurance available to cover hit-and-run?
This is your most pressing question following a hit-and-run, even if no one was injured in the accident.
For starters, unless you specifically told your insurer to leave off personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, your Texas auto insurance policy includes it. That will cover any medical treatment you or your passengers require after an accident.
But what about your car? The ideal situation is that the other driver will be located and you can make a claim through their insurance coverage just as you would for any other car accident.
What happens if the driver is unable to be found? There are two options.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This optional type of insurance coverage is designed to help pay for damages to your vehicle if another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have enough insurance — or any insurance at all — to foot the bill. In top car insurance companies across the country, and in Texas.What is the average Texas car insurance cost?An average Texas driver will pay $1800 per year for car insurance that includes collision and uninsured motorcyclist coverage. Texas is large, but it has many drivers. It’s worth getting quotes from several insurers to get an idea of the exact costs. These lowest-priced Texas insurances can help.What will happen to my insurance rates if there is a hit-and-run?Assuming you are the victim, generally no. Insurers will consider you a higher-risk person if you are caught in a hit-and-run incident. You’ll be charged more for your insurance coverage.
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